Thursday, March 25, 2021

Dodge Unveils New Defensive Line Against Theft Using Car Key Fob Spoofing

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Rear
Photo Credit: Car FYI Canada/Chris Nagy



For several decades, automobiles have been introducing motorists to a trendy alternative to the familiar key. Originally allowing for the remote locking and unlocking of doors as well as opening a trunk, the key fob would eventually permit starting of an ignition. The technology of the modern key fob has even evolved beyond its initial buttons with many new vehicles greeting the driver by unlocking and starting simply by an approach. 

Unfairly, with the emergence of new technology, there always seems to be those looking to nefariously exploit it. As the role of the physical key is being usurped by the key fob, a new avenue of car theft has the ability to bypass the long-operating defense of a vehicle. Thieves have been able to use electronic devices to acquire or spoof the radio signal of an automobile’s key fob and proceed to steal a vehicle in a relatively clean manner compared to previous methods of car theft. This type of auto theft has been growing with the adoption of remote or keyless entry technology brought into a deeper focus recently when York Regional Police raided an organized stolen car ring using the high-tech method to take higher end vehicles (73 vehicles collectively worth 4.5-million dollars Canadian was recovered). As the prevalence of the crime is rising, the key fob technology used by many automakers is being exposed as embarrassingly easy to bypass. Making a high-speed catch up against high-tech thieves, Dodge has prepared a new layer of software to deter stealing certain models of their Charger sedans and Challenger coupes.  

The security upgrade will be applied to Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger between the model years of 2015 and 2021 equipped with the higher output HEMI V-8 engines. Models of the Dodge sedan and coupe fitted with the 392 cubic-inch HEMI V-8 as well as vehicles using the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 (namely the SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye and the SRT Demon) will be the recipient of an added level of software enacting several theft prevention measures. Called Security Mode, a secondary encryption system operating on a four-digit code will act as a deterrent to a car thief expecting a quick getaway. While the vehicle may be started by spoofing the key fob signal, the engine’s rev limit is restricted to 675 rpm or the equivalent of three horsepower.

This security software enhancement will be available on applicable vehicles during the latter part of the second quarter of this year. Owners will simply need to bring their Dodge Charger or Challenger to a dealer to have the Security Mode protection installed free of charge.

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